"Quit your worship charades. I can't stand your trivial religious games: Monthly conferences, weekly Sabbaths, special meetings— meetings, meetings, meetings—I can't stand one more! Meetings for this, meetings for that. I hate them! You've worn me out! I'm sick of your religion, religion, religion, while you go right on sinning." Isaiah 1:13-14 (MSG)
The theme yesterday, from the message I heard in morning worship until the quiet pillow-talk with Wendy at night, was of forgiveness and repentance. I wake to read Isaiah's prophecy and the theme continues. There are days when, no matter where you turn, God keeps hammering a lesson home.
Pastor Andrew had a brilliant illustration yesterday of the child who has learned that "sorry" is the prescribed response to wrong-doing and turns it into life's get out of jail free card. Apologies are profane in the absence of repentance.
When faced with a choice of what to do about the darkness in my own soul, I can recount three different ways I've responded. One is outright rebellion and the willful choice to embrace the darkness. Another is repentance; literally the willful choice to turn the other direction and take clear and conscious steps towards the light. As I take intent, sometimes painful, steps towards the light, the darkness is exposed, examined, and its potency fades. The third response is to remorsefully turn towards the light while remaining fixed in place. I deceptively feel the light's reflection on my face and experience the warmth of it washing over me in the midst of my confession. Without stepping towards the light, however, the darkness can steal away deep inside to a place I can reach the next time I need a fix.
The power of light is realized and darkness fades in increasing measure as we move ever closer to the light source. Turning towards the light and stepping towards the light are often two very distinct decisions.